On Feb. 6, Beyoncé released the song and video to her latest song, “Formation,” on Feb. 6. The song and video featured several provocative images: A post-Hurricane Katrina setting, a black American boy dancing in front of armed police officers and the words “Stop shooting us (in reference to high-profile shootings involving black males by the police):”
On Feb. 7, Beyoncé followed up by performing “Formation” during halftime of Super Bowl 50:
And just before her Super Bowl performance, Beyoncé completed her marketing hat trick by announcing she will be starting a new world tour, starting April 27 in Miami.
Of course, this is not the first time Beyoncé has broken the Internet by marketing through emerging media. In 2013, Beyoncé released her self-titled album by posting an Instagram video with the caption “Surprise!” announcing a new “visual” album featuring 14 songs and 17 videos (Marechal, para. 2).
Social platforms frantically propelled the promotion from viral buzz; according to data provided by Twitter, the release generated over 1.2 million tweets in 12 hours and mentions of Beyoncé spiked by 500,000 tweets in 24 hours. (Lipshutz, para. 2). The album, released digitally to the iTunes Store without prior announcement or promotion, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Beyoncé sold more than 600,000 copies in the United States in three days, making it the fastest-selling album in the history of the iTunes Store.
From a marketing standpoint, Beyoncé is using social media as an influential way to reach audiences. The release of new content to fans and the general public comes across as a “direct gift” without any commercial mediation. The strategy involves strong online customer engagement, a large fan base to promote content freely and a strong emphasis on word of mouth. By relying on her considerable following, Beyoncé demonstrated the power of emerging media as a potent marketing tool.
Lipshutz, J. (2013, Dec. 13). “Beyoncé’s surprise album: 20 tweets from mind-blown musicians. Billboard. Retrieved February 14, 2016, from http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/5839698/beyonces-surprise-album-20-tweets-from-mind-blown-musicians
Marechal, A..J. (2013, Dec. 13). “Beyoncé discreetly releases album, breaks the Internet.” Variety. Retrieved February 14, 2016, from http://variety.com/2013/music/news/beyonce-discreetly-releases-album-breaks-the-internet-1200952826/
Melina & Friends (2016, Feb. 7). “Beyoncé & Bruno Mars Formation Super Bowl 2016 halftime show.” YouTube [Video file]. Retrieved February 14, 2016, from https://youtu.be/-5BPfRHX1SE